Blackpool-Preston railway upgrade set to start

Commuters are being reminded to plan their journeys as 19 weeks of work gets underway to transform the railway between Blackpool and Preston.

From November 11, the Great North Rail Project, part of Britain’s Railway Upgrade Plan, the scheme will affect travel to and from the seaside town.

During this time Network Rail will carry out vital upgrades to track and platforms at Blackpool North and Kirkham & Wesham stations. The signalling on both lines into Blackpool will be upgraded, which includes installing 84 new signals which will make journeys more reliable.

To carry out the work, Network Rail will be closing the railway and Northern will be providing bus replacement services in and out of Blackpool, affecting North and South stations in different ways.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman, said: “This vital upgrade is part of the government’s biggest investment in the network since Victorian times and will mean more seats, better connections, and more reliable journeys for rail passengers.

“We recognise there will be temporary disruption, but the benefits for passengers will be significant when complete. We are investing billions of pounds in transport across the region and I am delighted that this project is on track to deliver what passengers have told us they want to see.”

Martin Frobisher, Network Rail’s London North Western route managing director, said: “The upgrade of the line between Preston and Blackpool is the largest rail investment in the area since the 19th century and will provide a railway between Blackpool and Preston to be proud of.

“As Blackpool’s economy grows, the railway is growing too and we are working with the wider industry and our Blackpool region partners to keep people on the move throughout. There is never a good time to carry out this type of work but we have planned it to take place outside of the main holiday season so it causes the least impact.

“I am confident the short-term pain will be worth the long-term gain of transformed train travel in future.”

Sharon Keith, regional director at Northern, said: “The upgrade of the line between Preston and Blackpool is a key phase of the modernisation of the railway in the north of England.

“The work will pave the way for further improvements for our customers who, in the future, will benefit from brand new or fully refurbished electric trains – resulting in better journeys and, thanks to further investment, better stations.

“I’d like to thank our customers in advance for their understanding and patience whilst this essential work takes place.”

Between Saturday 11 November and Sunday 28 January 2018 the railway will be completely closed between Preston and Blackpool North and Blackpool South stations.

Between Monday 29 January 2018 and Sunday 25 March 2018 the railway between Preston and Blackpool South will reopen but the railway between Kirkham & Wesham and Blackpool North will remain closed.

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